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Image of the Week: Ebola Medals

18 Sep, 2015
Credit: Greg Smolonski ABIPP

Credit: Greg Smolonski ABIPP

It’s a far cry from an Ebola treatment unit in West Africa, but over 50 researchers came together in the Rector’s Garden at Exeter College on a fine late-summer evening this week, to be awarded medals for their contribution to tackling the Ebola epidemic. Principal Investigator Professor Peter Horby, from the University of Oxford tells us more…

The Epidemic Diseases Research Group in Oxford, with colleagues in Liberia and Sierra Leone, Médecins Sans Frontières and GOAL Global, and volunteers from 12 other countries set up two clinical trials of experimental treatments for Ebola. The team worked under incredible time pressures and extremely challenging conditions to set up the trials in record time.

The work was funded by the Wellcome Trust, and almost a year to the day after the grant was awarded the investigators were honoured at a ceremony hosted by the Vice Chancellor of the University of Oxford, Professor Andrew Hamilton, and the Head of the Nuffield Department of Medicine, Professor Sir Peter Ratcliffe.

30 team members received the Ebola Medal for Service in West Africa, announced by the Prime Minister on 11th June, and 39 received a medal specially commissioned by the University to recognise their unique contribution.

Ebola medal Chris Smith

Credit: Chris Smith, Director, Oxford Media Factory

Project Manager Dr Catrin Moore came up with the idea of the Oxford medals, “Peter Horby and I were discussing how wonderful the Ebola medals are, but that they are only available to Brits who have spent over 21 days in one of the affected West African countries” she says.

“We thought that it would be wonderful to thank all of the West African, non-British and Oxford staff who dedicated so much of their time and effort to our project. We were unable to find a medal anywhere which expressed this so I suggested that we design a University of Oxford Ebola medal.”

The medals were awarded in a ceremony that followed a full day workshop on ‘Fast-tracking clinical research in an epidemic’ which sought to capture the collective experiences of the team and the research partners over the past year. The workshop findings will be published as a Rapid Research Response Framework that will outline the key steps for a successful and fast research response to infectious disease outbreaks.

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